A federal official has identified and confirmed the name of the alleged shooter in Newtown, CT., as Adam Lanza, age 20. Lanza allegedly killed at least 26 people, including 20 children, Friday morning. Authorities responded to a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the young man carrying two 9mm handguns, and wearing all black clothing, was later found dead, according to a federal law enforcement official.
NBC’s Pete Williams has been told by several law enforcement officials that the gunman’s mother, a teacher at the Connecticut school, was found dead at the school.
A second person was in custody for a possible connection to the school shooting but was later released.
Students have estimated the shooting began around 9:30 a.m. One student told NBC Connecticut, “I was in the gym and I heard a loud, like seven loud booms, and the gym teachers told us to go in the corner, so we all huddled. And I kept hearing these booming noises. And we all … started crying. All the gym teachers told us to go into the office where no one could find us. So then a police officer came in and told us to run outside. So we did and we came in the firehouse and waited for our parents.”
Police received an emergency call from the elementary school shortly after 9:30 a.m., authorities quickly set up a staging area where students were evacuated and reunited with their families. Emergency vehicles fed across Fairfield County to the 600-student elementary school to respond to the victims, and Danbury Hospital went on lockdown and cleared four trauma rooms. The Associated Press reports that the hospital received only three patients, including a teacher who was shot. The FBI was on the scene, assisting with the investigation.
Law enforcement officials have called this the nation’s second-worst school massacre. The death toll is the highest from a school shooting in U.S. history since a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007. At Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, two teens killed 13 people and wounded 24 in 1999.
Jay Carney, spokesman for President Barack Obama, spoke about the shooting at a press conference Friday afternoon. “As we do, I think it’s important on a day like today to view this as I know the president, as a father does, and I as a father and others who are parents certainly do. Which is to feel enormous sympathy for families that are affected and to do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement and to support those who are enduring what appears to be a very tragic event,” he said. “There is, I’m sure, will be rather a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates but I don’t think today is that day.”
President Obama was told of the shooting at 10:30 a.m, and had a phone conversation with Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy and FBI Director Robert Mueller Friday afternoon to update information and offer his condolences, NBC News reported.
House Speaker John Boehner has ordered flags on Capitol Hill to be flown at half staff to honor the victims of the Newtown, CT shooting.